After parting ways with long-time partners Andretti Autosport at the end of the 2010 campaign, the Brazilian driver had signed a deal with De Ferran Dragon Racing for a full season in 2011. However, lack of sponsors has recently determined Gil de Ferran to close down his Indy operations, leaving Kanaan without a race seat with weeks to go before the season opener in St. Petersburg, scheduled this very weekend.
Benefiting from Group Lotus support for the 2011 IndyCar Series, KV Racing Technology managed to sign Kanaan in the eleventh hour and will field three drivers this season, including former F1 driver Takuma Sato and Ernesto Viso.
“Jimmy and I started talking about joining forces at the end of last season, but the timing was not ideal and I ended up signing with Gil,” said Kanaan when inking the one-year deal. “When I became a free agent in mid-February, calling Vasser seemed like a natural thing to do since KVRT was one of the top teams still looking for a driver.”
“Jimmy and I go back a long way, we were rivals during the CART days, but more than that, we have always been good friends, which helped a lot with our negotiations.”
Kanaan will start this season without much testing under his belt, as he used most of his winter break to look for a new deal. However, team owner Jimmy Vasser admitted his excitement over the move, as he reckoned Kanaan will bring a lot of his experience to the team this season.
“I think Tony is a great addition to our team,” he said. “He, along with Taku and EJ gives KVRT - Lotus a very strong driver line-up and one I am sure can compete for podium finishes and race wins. Tony's knowledge and experience will be extremely valuable to our team.”